#1 The Christmas Shoes
Raise your hand if you saw this one coming. Everyone? Yeah, okay.
I can’t even begin to list the number of things wrong with this song, but I’m going to have to try, of course. The sheer cheesiness of the song should be enough to make my list, but it’s the kind of song that just gets worse and worse and worse.
If you haven’t heard it (and I don’t know how that can be humanly possible), there’s the narrator and he’s all hurrying to buy those last minute Christmas gifts when he sees a young boy in front of him trying to buy a pair of ladies shoes because his mother is dying and he wants her to look beautiful as she meets Jesus. Predictably, the boy cannot afford said shoes, so the narrator generously pays for them and then learns the true meaning of Christmas, which is apparently buying shoes for a dying woman.
Not only is this an awful song–apparently it’s a made-for-tv movie. Seriously.
I mean, why? WHY?
Let’s break it down.
It was almost Christmas time, there I stood in another line
tryin’ to buy that last gift or two, not really in the Christmas mood
Okay, I can empathize. I’ve been purposely avoiding the mall lately. As if I hung out at the mall before. I didn’t. but I’m certainly not going to start now.
Standing right in front of me
was a little boy waiting anxiously
pacin’ around like little boys do
and in his hands he held a pair of shoes
His clothes were old and worn
he was dirty from head to toe
and when it came his time to pay
I couldn’t believe what I heard him say
I’m going to interrupt you for a second here. First of all, we’re dealing with a Tiny Tim ragamuffin. And I’ll just tell you what he’s going to say is that he can’t afford the shoes. Now the song doesn’t get to that part until the next verse, but “I couldn’t believe what I heard him say” is like–really? You didn’t see that coming? Like what do you THINK he’s going to say? “Excuse me, are these ladies shoes part of the buy-one-get-one promotion? Can I throw in a sensible pair of sneakers?” No, because we’re talking about Tiny Tim, right?
“Sir I want to buy these shoes
for my Mama please
It’s Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size”
What kid knows his mother’s shoe size? I’m a fully grown woman and I have no idea what my mother’s shoe size is. 7 maybe?
“You see, she’s been sick for quite a while, and
I know these shoes would make her smile, and
I want her to look beautiful
when Mama meets Jesus tonight”
Oh, so many issues. So Mama’s been sick and she’s pretty much going to die tonight. The shoes will make her smile. Okay, that’s admirable. But, like, save the receipt, know what I’m sayin’? And also this thing about Jesus–I mean look, I don’t pretend to be a 100% expert on Jesus, but I’m pretty sure He thinks you’re beautiful no matter what kind of footwear you’re wearing.
He counted pennies for what seems like years
You’ve just heard that this kid wants to buy these shoes for his dying mother, and you’re impatient because he’s counting pennies???
Then the cashier said, “Son, there’s not enough here”
He searched his pockets frantically
then he turned and looked at me
He said “Mama made Christmas good in our house
though most years she just did without
tell me, sir, what am I gonna do
somehow I’ve got to buy her these Christmas shoes”
For starters, the cashier must be a real ass if he’s going to cut this kid off after already hearing his sob story. I mean, call a manager and comp the kid or something. He’s clearly not got the money and really, would he really scam the store for a pair of ladies shoes?
So I laid the money down
I just had to help him out
Now here’s another thing with this song. Why is this guy so self-congratulatory that he helped this kid out? I mean, of course you helped him out. If you didn’t, that would make you as big of a Scrooge as the cashier.
I’ll never forget the look on his face
when he said “Mama’s going to look so great”
It’s nice that he wants his dying mother to look great, but with shoes???
Sir I want to buy these shoes, for my Mama please
it’s Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size
can you hurry, sir, Daddy says there’s not much time
you see, she’s been sick for quite a while
and I know these shoes would make her smile
and I want her to look beautiful
when Mama meets Jesus tonight
Oh, it’s the ghastly chorus again! The death is imminent, so why is the kid shopping on Christmas Eve, for crying out loud? Who deliberately goes shopping on Christmas Eve? And did he set out to find a pair of shoes? Or were they an impulse purchase? And also, Jesus doesn’t care about your footwear. The dude wore sandals.
I knew I’d caught a glimpse of Heaven’s love
as he thanked me and ran out
I knew that God had sent that little boy
to remind me just what Christmas is all about
SHOES FOR A DYING MOTHER IS WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT????? And like what, God said “this guy needs to be more selfish and get into the giving spirit. I could send him a copy of Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol,’ or I can kill off this little boy’s mom and send the kid out for a pair of shoes for another stranger to buy”? That’s kind of an awful lesson. You know what would be a good lesson? If the narrator were like “okay, here’s the money for the shoes, and you know what? I’m really sorry to hear about your mom and obviously your family needs some help–let’s swing by the grocery store and get a bag of food for y’all, okay?”
Or you can just buy the shoes.
And then they repeat the chorus, in case you forgot that when you meet Jesus, he’s going to look down and your feet and say, “Girlfriend–Crocs are ugly. YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”
The schmaltz factor is agonizing. Truly agonizing. In fact, the whole song is agonizing. So agonizing that it reaches #1 on my list.
Merry Musical Christmas, everyone!
#10 Santa Baby (Madonna)
#9 Jingle Bells by the Singing Dogs
#8 Feliz Navidad
#7 Last Christmas (Wham!)
#6 The Chipmunk Song/I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas
#5 The Chanukah Song (original version) by Adam Sandler
#4 Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer
#3 Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas
#2 Do They Know It’s Christmas?